A hail of comedians rattle Lagosians at the second edition of Lagos Laughs, writes AKEEM LASISI
Call Gift Loveday an ugly man, if you like. His less-charming looks may justify that. But he proved that ugliness is an art on Sunday night, when he won the second edition of the Ibile Comedy Challenge segment of the Lagos Laughs show held at the Eko Hotels and Suites in Victoria Island, Lagos. With the victory decided by the audience, he went home with N1m, beating 14 other contestants, most of whom also proved their worth with quality jokes.
Before any member of the audience could think aloud that Port Harcourt, River State-born Loveday was far from being handsome, he hit them with self-battering humour. According to him, he is so ugly that, when he was in the foundation school, his teacher regularly used him as a specimen when he (teacher) wanted his (Loveday’s) classmates to draw a monkey. He added that gatemen and bouncers always looked out for his face whenever there was an occasion and they always denied him entry. According to him, even if he is able to sneak into the hall where an event is holding, there is something on his face that signals to the bouncers that an aberration is lurking somewhere in the hall.
Such punches, coupled with the mischievous way Loveday delivered them, made his listeners to roll with laughter – including dignitaries such as the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Senator Solomon Olamilekan, who represented the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; and the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde; as well as celebrities such as Desmond Elliot, Kunle Afolayan and Ramsey Noah. The comedian made so much impact during his first appearance that the final stage was a mere formality for him.
But the show, spiced with music from Shuga Band, was not a child’s play. Seasoned comedians, including Omo Baba, Koffi, Seyi Law and Basket Mouth, made the night more memorable for the audience. The organisers of the programme, which was powered by the Lagos State Government, were also so resourceful that they injected it with comedy skits and a satirisation of key housemates of the recently concluded Big Brother Naija Reality TV show.
Oma Baba opened the main treat with a comic journey into old songs that, according to him, made sense, as against what obtains now, which he considered generally too rash. But many people believe that Seyi Law and Gordon gave the funniest jokes in a most engaging way during their separate performances. One thing common with both is that they kept everyone laughing throughout. With them, there was no dull moment. While Seyi Law rattled the stage with what, according to him, goes on in the lives of hemp smokers, Gordon superlatively caricatured some musical artistes, juxtaposing the real with the imagined.
Of course, barring a few controversial jabs by Basketmouth (especially as he jokingly called for the legalisation of some dreaded substances), he also kept the audience at the edges of their seats. Two other guys that, however, also showed that they were no pushovers are Kenny Black and Dee One.
While one of the coordinators of the festival, Tunde Adewale – Tee A – noted that the show was the climax of a weeklong industry development event, the minister commended the Lagos State Government for giving the artistes the platform. According to Mohammed, who also highlighted some of the efforts the Federal Government is making to reposition the industry, the initiatives that the Ambode administration has introduced in the culture and tourism sector are laudable.